A member of the Missionaries of Charity helps distribute relief items to earthquake victims May 16 in the mountains overlooking Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Toronto donors faced tough decisions when it came to giving to disaster relief, local charities and fundraising initiatives. CNS photo/Anto Akkara

Series of events combine to put ShareLife behind

  • June 24, 2015

Natural disasters around the world combined with a larger fund-raising campaign in the archdiocese tapping into the generosity of Toronto Catholics are making for one of the most difficult years in ShareLife’s history.

Entering the final month of this year’s campaign, ShareLife — the charitable fundraising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto — finds itself well shy of its goal.

As of June 18 the campaign, which aims to raise $12.95 million, finds itself $2.9 million from its target.

The shortfall can be attributed to decisions Catholic have to make in where to put their charitable donations. The Nepal earthquake and previous year’s disasters like Typhoon Haiyan have forced donors to make tough decisions when it comes to donating. And the Family of Faith Campaign, a two-year effort by the archdiocese to raise at least $105 million to support the needs outlined in the archdiocese’s Pastoral Plan, has also taken its toll.

“Last year was in one way the start of the Family of Faith campaign and that hurt us in some parishes but only a small number because it had only been the pilot parishes that had gone at that point,” said Arthur Peters, ShareLife’s executive director.

More parishes were involved with Family of Faith this year, and ShareLife is seeing the impact.

“This year the pilots and Wave 2 (of the campaign) are done so there is a greater impact. Some individuals have made the decision that supporting the needs of the pastoral plan would be their priority.

“Sometimes it comes at the expense of other giving.”  

Despite the Family of Faith campaign doing so well — as of June 16 the campaign had reached 94 per cent of its goal with another year of fundraising to go — Peters said it wouldn’t be right to transfer dollars from that campaign to top up ShareLife.

“To honour the donors’ intentions and respecting the contributions that they have given, those funds are to be used for that purpose,” he said. “So the Family of Faith campaign shouldn’t direct any of those dollars towards ShareLife because we have to honour the donors intentions which was to support that campaign.”

With so much money left to raise in such a short time — the campaign ends July 31 — Peters couldn’t deny that if things don’t change allocations may be impacted.

“Our advisory board does everything it can to maintain our allocations,” he said.

“We will see this year when it’s finished and I’m sure our board will be looking at that early. Our goal is to maintain our allocations; ultimately that is what we try our best to do.”

He continued by noting that “extra effort” will be put into the final month of the campaign at the local level by having an increased ShareLife presence in parishes.

“We haven’t had a final push like this before,” he said. “So we are putting in a little bit more effort this year.”  

Peters said he remains optimistic the ShareLife campaign will succeed as it has in years gone by.

“Our hope is that as we come to the final weeks of the ShareLife campaign that those who haven’t supported the ShareLife campaign will do so,” he said.

“We are hopeful over the next few weeks that the generosity of our parishioners will come through as it always has.”

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.